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Junior doctors should “think carefully” over future strikes, says BMA chief executive

4 May 2016

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Junior doctors were urged to think carefully over their next step in the dispute over the controversial new contract.

The chief executive of the British Medical Association (BMA) Dr Mark Porter (pictured) said doctors should “take soundings” before considering indefinite strike action as a possible next stage in their dispute.

The BMA’s junior doctors committee is due to meet on Saturday (May 7) and any decisions will go before the BMA’s council the following week.

Porter is due to attend the meeting at the weekend and said he would see what is discussed there.

However he said the government’s legacy could be that “it pushed doctors away from their patients and away from the health service”.

Last week junior doctors staged two days of all-out action.

Senior doctors provided cover in their place.

NHS England said 78% of junior doctors did not turn up for their shifts during the two days of action last week.

According to NHS England, trusts across England expected to postpone 12,711 elective operations between April 18 and May 2, with 112,856 postponed outpatient appointments.

Porter was speaking at the special representative meeting yesterday (Tues May 3) called to discuss pressures in the NHS.

Doctors and trainees came together to discuss their concerns over morale and workload and discuss possible solutions.

Porter said the event at Church House in Westminster, was not about the junior doctors’ contracts dispute but about the wider crises in morale and workload.

However, he offered a solution to the current impasse between junior doctors and the government.

“We’ll both back away from the cliff edge, restart talks and start the work of rebuilding junior doctors’ confidence.”

He warned that an imposition of the controversial contract in August had lost “the hearts, the minds and the bodies of a generation of junior doctors”.

Porter also called for the government to “address those scourges of public health that make our lives shorter and nastier” and embrace integration “not piecemeal privatization”.

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